Maker: Chair frame by the firm of Joseph-Pierre- François Jeanselme (1824–1860)
Maker: Upholstery by the firm of Jacques-Michel Dulud
Date: ca. 1850
Culture: French, Paris
Medium: Carved rosewood, leather, silk, serge
Dimensions: Overall: 51 1/2 × 25 5/8 × 24 1/2 in. (130.8 × 65.1 × 62.2 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts and Director's Discretionary Fund, 1995
Accession Number: 1995.164
The overall design of this armchair is taken directly from elements used in Gothic architecture, as are the prominent ogee-arch back surmounted by carved leaves and flanked by spandrels cut with trefoils, and the molded details of the posts, arms, supports, and legs, as well as the pierced skirt imitating tracery. The original leather upholstery has a pressed design showing a pattern of flowering scrolls in red, rust, gold, and black (originally green); the outer back is covered with a gold-colored silk glued over green serge.
Although the Gothic Revival is primarily associated with English tastes, the style also appeared in France during King Louis-Philippe's reign (1830–48). While in exile in England, Louis-Philippe developed a taste for English styles. The Gothic was also promoted by the influential architect and theorist Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, a restorer of French Gothic cathedrals.
The Jeanselme firm was founded in 1834 and within ten years had acquired the renowned furniture firm of Jacob-Desmalter. By the middle of the century, Jeanselme had become one of the most important cabinetmakers in Paris as well as Fournisseur du Mobilier de la Couronne (Furnisher to the Crown) under Louis-Philippe. The firm continued until 1930.